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Commentary: Official scorers' rulings open to debate

By Joe Capozzi

 

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

 

Sunday, September 24, 2006

 

PHILADELPHIA ? Greg Maddux was able to do it. John Smoltz was able to do it. Joe Borowski was not, but he certainly tried.

 

Borowski doesn't have as sparkling a r?sum? as Smoltz and Maddux, who have a combined 522 victories and five Cy Young Awards. But Borowski thought he might get a little help in at least lowering his ERA by having an official scorer's call reversed.

 

Borowski knows it's possible. It happened twice this season for opposing pitchers facing the Marlins.

 

On May 24, Maddux wasn't happy when Hanley Ramirez was credited with a hit on a ball bobbled by Cubs shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Maddux filed a protest and eight weeks later the hit was changed to an error, shaving five earned runs off Maddux's line score.

 

It took Smoltz just a couple of hours to do it Sept. 16, when the Braves pitcher stormed off the mound and pointed at the Turner Field press box to protest an infield RBI single that was given to Miguel Cabrera on a hard grounder that shortstop Edgar Renteria momentarily bobbled.

 

By the time the game ended, the hit was changed to an error, and Smoltz's ERA dropped.

 

The next day, Borowski entered the game in the 10th inning with a 7-3 lead. Florida's defense imploded and the Marlins lost 8-7 after the Braves scored five runs, two unearned.

 

The rally started after one out when catcher Brian McCann - batting .326 with an outside shot at the National League batting title - hit a slicing fly ball off left-fielder Josh Willingham's glove.

 

It was ruled a double - to the dismay of a Braves broadcaster who said on the air: "I'm not an official scorer, but how can he possibly ... I mean, a major-league ballplayer has to make that play, doesn't he?''

 

The inning ended with Borowski walking off the field with his head down as the Braves celebrated their improbable come-from-behind victory. Borowski did not point at the press box.

 

The next day, he reflected on the rally, which started on McCann's hit and eventually ended with Borowski being charged with three earned runs. That's when he said he recalled the image of Smoltz angrily pointing at the press box the day before.

 

"What probably brought it out more than anything was seeing Smoltz having it changed right there on the spot. That put it in the back of my head: 'If I can get something changed for me, why not (try)?' " Borowski said.

 

"As a reliever, you need all the help you can get. One run makes a big difference in your ERA. Two is even bigger.''

 

Borowski went into that game with a 3.64 ERA, which went up to 4.04 after the ugly inning. He made it clear that his contract has no financial incentive clauses related to his ERA.

 

"It's just a matter of pride,'' he said.

 

Marlins media relations chief Matt Roebuck asked official scorer Mike Stamus to reconsider his call. Stamus refused.

 

The Marlins went to New York the next day for a four-game series against the Mets. Roebuck brought a DVD of the inning to Major League Baseball's offices in Manhattan.

 

The play was reviewed by a five-member panel that was formed at least three years ago to review close plays. The panel doesn't have the power to overturn a call; the final decision rests with the official scorer. But when the league recommended the call be overturned - as it did in Maddux's case - Stamus still refused.

 

What does Willingham think? "I felt bad about the play,'' he said. "I don't know if it's an error, but I make that play nine out of 10 times.''

 

Borowski understands the official-scorer system but he is disappointed that he didn't get the same treatment as Maddux or Smoltz.

 

"Baseball is supposed to be sacred. The game is about numbers,'' Borowski said. "When you don't have anyone to answer to, you can pretty much do whatever you want.

 

"As a scorekeeper, you're supposed to impartial and unbiased and score the game as if you are not rooting for one team. What if McCann wasn't hitting .330-something. Would you do it differently?''

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"Baseball is supposed to be sacred. The game is about numbers,'' Borowski said.

 

 

And here all this time I thought it was about your team winning or losing.

 

Maybe it's just me but something turns my stomach about a pitcher who has just given up runs and lost the game being more concerned about their own stats and how a scoring decision affects them than the fact that they just blew the game. It wasn't like the McCann play ended the game by allowing the winning run to score. Borowski had how many more chances to get outs after that play? And didn't. But lets worry about our ERA....after all, THATS what is REALLY important here.

 

 

:rolleyes:

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"Baseball is supposed to be sacred. The game is about numbers,'' Borowski said.

 

 

And here all this time I thought it was about your team winning or losing.

 

Maybe it's just me but something turns my stomach about a pitcher who has just given up runs and lost the game being more concerned about their own stats and how a scoring decision affects them than the fact that they just blew the game. It wasn't like the McCann play ended the game by allowing the winning run to score. Borowski had how many more chances to get outs after that play? And didn't. But lets worry about our ERA....after all, THATS what is REALLY important here.

 

 

:rolleyes:

 

yea, that's pretty lame by all 3 pitchers

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"Baseball is supposed to be sacred. The game is about numbers,'' Borowski said.

 

 

And here all this time I thought it was about your team winning or losing.

 

Maybe it's just me but something turns my stomach about a pitcher who has just given up runs and lost the game being more concerned about their own stats and how a scoring decision affects them than the fact that they just blew the game. It wasn't like the McCann play ended the game by allowing the winning run to score. Borowski had how many more chances to get outs after that play? And didn't. But lets worry about our ERA....after all, THATS what is REALLY important here.

 

 

:rolleyes:

 

yea, that's pretty lame by all 3 pitchers

 

I agree. If anyone should be complaining it should be Moe. And yet he just keeps hos mouth shut and takes the mound.

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And, just as Borowski, took his issue to the press as well.

 

And the player he was trying to push the error on was a respected defensive player by the board and an underrated one by most of baseball.

 

Oh and that whole unfulfilled promise / immature behavior thing he had going too.

 

 

What do ya mean "had"?????

 

If I were Borowski Id be more worried about holding a 4-run lead in the 10th inning. The Marlins defense sucks the big one but he had a 4 freakin run lead

 

 

Ya mean the one where Hanley dropped an out trying for a DP that wasn't there, Reggie misplayed two balls. and Hammer let one out of his glove that ended up being a double and committed the error that scored the winning run??? Just exactly how many outs can a pitcher give up??? If he is going to complain about a game it would have to be that one.

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Official scorers are too inconsistent from team to team. In cases such as this one where a player or team asks for a review the final call should be with the league panel. In addition to that there should be a mechanism in place for the league panel to review questionable calls even when no player or team asks for a review. Early in the season DTrain repeatedly got screwed by plays that should have been errors but were scored as hits by our official scorer and he ended up with several earned runs that should have been unearned. DTrain would never ask for a review.

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And, just as Borowski, took his issue to the press as well.

 

And the player he was trying to push the error on was a respected defensive player by the board and an underrated one by most of baseball.

 

Oh and that whole unfulfilled promise / immature behavior thing he had going too.

 

 

What do ya mean "had"?????

:D

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Official scorers are too inconsistent from team to team. In cases such as this one where a player or team asks for a review the final call should be with the league panel. In addition to that there should be a mechanism in place for the league panel to review questionable calls even when no player or team asks for a review. Early in the season DTrain repeatedly got screwed by plays that should have been errors but were scored as hits by our official scorer and he ended up with several earned runs that should have been unearned. DTrain would never ask for a review.

 

 

Good thoughts but wrong pitcher to use. DTrain has been hurt alot more by himself. Especially RH hitters. 17 of his 18 HBP (a Marlins record???) are vs righties, if memory serves me correctly. Willing to bet most of his walks are vs righties as well. Would be interesting to see stats on how many batters he threw behind also. DTrain just didn't have the kind of year most expected from him. And he isn't making excuses for it. He needs another pitch besides the plunker to get past the righties, something I hope he works on this off season.

Moe relys heavily on his D and was probably the worst victim of sloppy D. I suppose Borowski could be added to that list as well.

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In Borowski's defense, he is a free agent in the off-season and every little bit helps.

 

 

Then grow a set and SAY that.

 

But no...instead he's a weasel about it and "makes it clear that is wasn't about a contract or money" by making such ridiculous statements as "it's just a matter of pride" and "baseball is supposed to be sacred...the game is about numbers."

 

Here's a clue, genius....the game is neither about numbers NOR pride.....it's about winning and losing. You lost....so shut up and take it like a man and quit trying to deflect attention from that fact by whining about the official scorer. You embarass yourself, your organization and your fanbase but I guess the .09 on your precious ERA is much more important to you than any of that.

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And, just as Borowski, took his issue to the press as well.

 

And the player he was trying to push the error on was a respected defensive player by the board and an underrated one by most of baseball.

 

Oh and that whole unfulfilled promise / immature behavior thing he had going too.

 

 

What do ya mean "had"?????

 

If I were Borowski Id be more worried about holding a 4-run lead in the 10th inning. The Marlins defense sucks the big one but he had a 4 freakin run lead

 

 

Ya mean the one where Hanley dropped an out trying for a DP that wasn't there, Reggie misplayed two balls. and Hammer let one out of his glove that ended up being a double and committed the error that scored the winning run??? Just exactly how many outs can a pitcher give up??? If he is going to complain about a game it would have to be that one.

 

 

Im not disagreeing with you about the defense that inning but Borowski was getting ROCKED.

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